Once you have to start mass-murdering your citizens to crush dissension, that is the beginning of the end. The emotions that led to mass protest within the body politic only become more inflamed with each death, and even if the State can drive everyone into stony silence, strong emotions remain, repressed and festering, someday to again erupt, be that in a number of days, weeks, months or years.
The Syrian government has descended into the same maelstrom of violent State repression by authoritarian regimes that we have seen engulfing Yemen, Bahrain and, of course Libya. It remains to be seen how horrific the violence will become, and whether it will force the nationwide Syrian protest movement to take up armed struggle. Right now, however, things are looking more polarized than ever, as the regional pro-democracy movement manifest in Syria locks horns with yet another Ancien Régime in the Middle East, as shown in this al Jazeera photo and the following videos: